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CAMEL

Symphonic Prog • United Kingdom


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Camel picture
Camel biography
Formed in 1971 in Guildford, Surrey, UK - Disbanded in 1984 - Reformed from 1991 to 2003 and again since 2013

The roots of CAMEL go as far as 1964, when the Latimer brothers Andrew and Bryan form part of a band called THE PHANTOM FOUR, after gaining some fame, the band changes their name to STRANGE BREW, a when the bass player Graham Cooper reaches the band. But things were about to change, Ian Latimer and Cooper leave the band and Doug Ferguson joins.

At this point drummer Andrew Ward joins the crew and the seeds were growing in this new Blues oriented band called simply THE BREW, and at last in 1971 with the arrival of keyboardist Peter BARDENS CAMEL is officially born.

In their first period CAMEL releases four albums, the self titled debut, which was received with limited enthusiasm by the public, which lead to the change of label from MCA (Who didn't wanted to take risks) to Decca, with whom they stayed for 10 years.

Followed by "Mirage", Snow Goose" and "Moonmadness" (for many their essential trilogy), during the latest album tour, the saxophonist and flute player Mel Collins joins and leads CAMEL to a first radical change in the sound, as well as in the formation because Doug Ferguson is replaced by the Ex CARAVAN bass player Richard SINCLAIR.

With this formation CAMEL releases two albums, "Rain Dances and "Breathless", which marks for many the end of CAMEL'S golden era mainly because Pete Bardens leaves the band and the next release "I Can See Your House From Here" is considered inferior to the previous releases by the critic.

From this point the lineups constantly changes but the band still releases seven more albums received with different degrees of acceptance, until the last studio album "A Nod And a Wink" sees the light in 2002 (the same year Pete Bardens passes away) completing a large discography of 14 studio releases, 9 live albums, 7 DVD's and several box sets .

Maybe because their style is softer than most of the pioneer bands with atmospheric and light Space Rock overtones their fanbase is not as huge as the ones of the coetaneous and more aggressive bands such as GENESIS (Who in my opinion influenced CAMEL), YES or KING CRIMSON, but CAMEL is without doubt among the most respected groups, and the Latimer - Bardens duo is considered one of the most creative compositional teams.

If I h...
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CAMEL discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

CAMEL top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.95 | 1519 ratings
Camel
1973
4.41 | 3061 ratings
Mirage
1974
4.30 | 2608 ratings
The Snow Goose
1975
4.40 | 2609 ratings
Moonmadness
1976
3.65 | 1146 ratings
Rain Dances
1977
3.17 | 962 ratings
Breathless
1978
2.92 | 825 ratings
I Can See Your House From Here
1979
3.64 | 895 ratings
Nude
1981
2.68 | 588 ratings
The Single Factor
1982
3.45 | 815 ratings
Stationary Traveller
1984
3.64 | 605 ratings
Dust And Dreams
1991
3.75 | 706 ratings
Harbour Of Tears
1996
4.10 | 984 ratings
Rajaz
1999
3.95 | 787 ratings
A Nod and a Wink
2002
4.17 | 639 ratings
The Snow Goose (Re-recording)
2013

CAMEL Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.39 | 492 ratings
A Live Record
1978
3.45 | 208 ratings
Pressure Points
1984
3.72 | 145 ratings
Camel on the Road 1972
1992
4.45 | 192 ratings
Never Let Go
1993
2.54 | 89 ratings
Camel On The Road 1982
1994
3.51 | 88 ratings
Camel on the Road 1981
1997
4.29 | 168 ratings
Coming Of Age
1998
3.91 | 88 ratings
Camel 73 - 75 Gods of Light
2000
3.66 | 91 ratings
The Paris Collection
2001
4.74 | 39 ratings
Live at the Royal Albert Hall
2020

CAMEL Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

2.70 | 59 ratings
Pressure Points - Live in Concert
1984
4.54 | 129 ratings
Coming of Age
1998
3.00 | 33 ratings
Curriculum Vitae
2003
4.01 | 58 ratings
Footage
2004
3.86 | 43 ratings
Footage II
2005
4.03 | 53 ratings
Total Pressure - Live In Concert 1984
2007
4.04 | 65 ratings
Moondances
2007
4.40 | 88 ratings
The Opening Farewell: Camel Live in Concert
2010
4.44 | 45 ratings
In From The Cold
2014
4.41 | 36 ratings
Ichigo Ichie - Live in Japan 2016
2017
4.94 | 49 ratings
Live At The Royal Albert Hall
2019

CAMEL Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.30 | 24 ratings
Chameleon (Best Of Camel)
1981
3.31 | 25 ratings
The Collection
1985
3.68 | 36 ratings
A Compact Compilation
1985
2.70 | 14 ratings
Landscapes
1991
3.46 | 71 ratings
Echoes
1993
2.48 | 14 ratings
Camel (25th Anniversary Compilation)
1997
3.91 | 42 ratings
Lunar Sea - An Anthology 1973-1985
2001
3.15 | 7 ratings
Supertwister - Best
2006
3.98 | 50 ratings
Rainbow's End - A Camel Anthology 1973-1985
2010
5.00 | 10 ratings
Air Born: The MCA & Decca Years 1973-1984
2023

CAMEL Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.07 | 37 ratings
Never Let Go
1973
4.50 | 18 ratings
The Snow Goose
1975
3.66 | 16 ratings
Flight Of The Snow Goose
1975
3.98 | 33 ratings
Another Night
1976
3.64 | 23 ratings
Highways of the Sun
1977
4.09 | 11 ratings
Breathless
1978
3.75 | 8 ratings
Your Love Is Stranger Than Mine
1979
4.40 | 5 ratings
Some Exerpts From The New Camel Album
1979
2.88 | 8 ratings
Remote Romance
1979
3.57 | 7 ratings
Remote Romance (German Version)
1979
4.50 | 4 ratings
Camel In Concert No.250
1981
3.70 | 10 ratings
Lies
1981
3.45 | 11 ratings
No Easy Answer
1982
3.89 | 9 ratings
Selva
1982
3.23 | 12 ratings
Cloak And Dagger Man
1984
2.65 | 10 ratings
Long Goodbyes
1984
3.00 | 5 ratings
Berlin Occidental (West Berlin)
1984
3.50 | 6 ratings
Lies (Promo Single)
1984
4.22 | 9 ratings
Captured
1986
4.59 | 30 ratings
Never Let Go
2002
0.00 | 0 ratings
Newcastle
2023

CAMEL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Mirage by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.41 | 3061 ratings

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Mirage
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by TenYearsAfter

5 stars This is without any competition my favorite Camel album, to me Mirage sounds as their most dynamic, elaborate and varied effort, and "no fillers, all killers"!

Freefall : Trademark Andy Latimer featuring powerful and often howling electric guitar.

Supertwister : Lots of pleasant work on the flute, and in the end that funny opening of a can of beer, it turned me into me into a beerhunter, haha.

Nimrodel : What a wonderful harmony of lush Mellotron violins, twanging guitar, a deep bass sound and excellent guitar play, loaded with emotion.

Earthrise : Enjoy the wonderful guitar play and varied keyboards, inlcuding floods of Hammond and a spectacular Minimoog solo.

And now the absolute highlight, the epic 3-part Lady Fantasy (close to 13 minutes) : This awesome Camel composition delivers lots of exciting shifting moods and great work on guitar and keyboards, the interplay by all musicians is excellent. And then, after a hypnotizing middle-part, there is that mindblowing heavy and bombastic eruption featuring swinging clavinet and a compelling organ solo, and in the end beautiful Mellotron violins, Peter Bardens shines, goose bumps!

Highly recommended for those progheads who are more into melodic symphonic rock.

 Camel on the Road 1981 by CAMEL album cover Live, 1997
3.51 | 88 ratings

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Camel on the Road 1981
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Review Nº 746

"Camel On The Road 1981" is the sixth live album of Camel and despite be recorded at the Hammersmith Odeon, London, England, in 1981 by the BBC, it was only released sixteen years later in 1997. As happens with "Camel On The Road 1972" and "Camel 73 ? 75 Gods Of Light", "Camel On The Road 1981" is also a live bootleg. But, despite the similarity of these three live albums, "Camel On The Road 1981" is a different live album compared with the other two. "Camel On The Road 1972" and "Camel 73 ? 75 Gods Of Light" have some similarities because they were both recorded in the 70's in the golden era of Camel, three of the live versions of the songs are based in the same original songs of the band, and finally, the line up of these two live albums are the same and corresponds to the original and that is also considered the best and most important of the band. Relatively to "Camel On The Road 1981", despite have three old songs from the 70's, this is a live album based in the Camel's sound of the 80's and has a completely different line up.

Anyway and despite all I said before, "Camel On The Road 1981" is also an important landmark in the history of Camel. It was the last album featuring the original drummer of the band Andy Ward. In the mid of 1981, Andy Ward stopped playing drums due to alcohol and drugs and years latter it emerged that Andy Ward had attempt suicide. So, with the departure of their former bassist Doug Ferguson in 1977, the departure of their former keyboardist Peter Bardens in 1978 and the departure of their former drummer Andy Ward in 1981, their guitarist Andrew Latimer remains the only former member on the group, despite some occasional fleeting appearances of Peter Bardens as a guest musician.

So, the line up on "Camel On The Road 1981" is Andrew Latimer (vocals, guitar and flute), Jan Schelhaas (keyboards), Kit Watkins (flute and keyboards), Colin Bass (vocals and bass) and Andy Ward (drums).

"Camel On The Road 1981" has thirteen tracks. We can clearly divide the album into two distinct parts, the old songs and the new songs. The three initial tracks correspond to the old songs and the remaining ten to the new songs. So, the first track "Never Let Go" was originally released on their eponymous debut studio album "Camel". The second track "Song Within A Song" was originally released on their fourth studio album "Moonmadness". The third track "Lunar Sea" was also originally released on "Moonmadness". The fourth track "City Life", the fifth track "Nude", the sixth track "Drafted", the seventh track "Docks", the eighth track "Beached", the ninth track "Landscapes", the tenth track "Changing Places", the eleventh track "Reflections", the twelfth track "Captured" and the thirteenth track "The Last Farewell" are all songs that were originally released on their eighth and most recent studio album, at the time, "Nude".

The album opens with the inevitable "Never Let Go", which is put down nicely here. "Song Within A Song" remains a beautiful song and in this line up it gets an extra dimension because of the duel between Latimer and Schelhaas. "Lunar Sea" is here almost two minutes longer than the original and the version on "A Live Record". Especially on this piece, having those two keyboard players pays off. The music sounds richer, fatter and better thought through. This is a very nice version. "Nude" is a fantastic album, but also a child of its time. There are shorter, more pointed parts, more songs than Camel produced before that time. On the other hand, you can also consider the album as a whole. In that sense, the lack of four pieces and some order changes is a bit annoying, because the connection is gone. But, musically, the band puts a little more fire in the music than can be heard on the studio versions, making the album a bit more bombastic and sounding more exciting. So, you can hear the audience react very enthusiastically in some parts of the show. So, "Camel On the Road 1981" has some nice extra touches, and a final curtain call for the talented Andrew.

Conclusion: I like Camel's sound of the 80's and "Nude" is, for me, their best work in the 80's. I think Camel passed with honour and elegance by those troubled times for the prog rock music, better than some many other contemporary bands. So, I've no problems with "Nude". As I wrote above, "Camel On The Road 1981" has two distinct musical parts, the old and the new songs. The three old songs are some of my favourite songs of Camel and they're all great live versions. They've some modern keyboard sound, especially due to the presence of two keyboardists. I like particularly of the live version of "Never Let Go" and the extended version of "Lunar Sea". In relation to the new songs, "Nude" is a conceptual album and I think that would make sense performed live the entirely album and not a punch of songs of it. By the other hand, "Nude" has few lyrics. It's essentially an instrumental album and it should have been differently performed live with more creativity and improvisation. As it was the live presentation of "Nude", probably they didn't want changed it very much. But, it doesn't bring practically anything new to the studio version. So, "Camel On The Road 1981" isn't a very cohesive and balanced live album. Still, don't get me wrong, "Camel On The Road 1981" isn't a bad album. Despite lack to it some musical creativity and improvisation, it's a solid album that deserves 3 solid stars.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Air Born: The MCA & Decca Years 1973-1984 by CAMEL album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2023
5.00 | 10 ratings

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Air Born: The MCA & Decca Years 1973-1984
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Emerging just in time to honour the 50th anniversary of their debut album, Air Born is a sprawling boxed set which, as the title implies, celebrates their years spent with MCA and Decca. This was not always a happy time in terms of the band's relationship with Decca; in particular, after Andy Ward suffered a mental health crisis and attempted suicide, Andrew Latimer wanted to put the band on hiatus for a while to give Ward a chance to recuperate, but heartlessly Decca demanded that Camel put out a new studio album anyway - and pressured them to make it commercially friendly on top of that - which is what led to the critical stumble of The Single Factor.

Still, musically speaking this covers the music which Camel built their legacy on and more besides. Full remasters (and, for some select albums, additional stereo remixes) of all the Camel studio releases from their debut to Stationary Traveller are, naturally, included, along with a range of supplementary material ranging from unreleased studio tracks through to full live performances.

Much of this stuff has emerged in one form or another as bonus tracks over time, but there are a few significant bits of material which are new to this release. The major scoop of the collection is the full demo tape the band recorded in between their debut album and Mirage, which finds early versions of almost all the Mirage tracks present - only Freefall from that album is missing, and instead we get The Traveller, a Uriah Heep-ish piece which seems to have been abandoned as being more in keeping with their debut album's sound than Mirage's. In terms of sound quality, the demo is top notch, and captures the band's musical growth since they recorded their self-titled album marvellously, forming a hitherto-missing link between that and Mirage.

As for the live material, this is largely a mixture of BBC sessions and material released elsewhere, though there are enhancements and additions here and there. Early live performances include the take on God of Light Revisited originally recorded for the Greasy Truckers - Live At Dingwalls Dance Hall release, a funky, Santana-influenced piece. Again, this has been fairly widely repackaged as a bonus track on some issue or other over the years.

BBC sessions here include a June 1974 recording showcasing the band fresh from the release of Mirage, a more expansive 1975 offering giving extensive extracts from The Snow Goose (with the band on excellent form and proving they didn't need the orchestra to evoken the album's magic live), their excellent appearance on The Old Grey Whistle Test, and a 1977 Sight and Sound In Concert appearance from the Rain Dances lineup primarily focused on that album but also including great takes on Snow Goose material, Never Let Go from the debut, and an absolutely stellar take on Lunar Sea from Moonmadness. Much of this material has shown up as bonus tracks or on bootlegs over the years, but it's nice to get it in fairly definitive versions here.

Rather than presenting A Live Record in either its original or expanded configurations, the box instead offers the complete original live recordings from the different shows which made up that release. This includes a full set from the Marquee Club in October 1974, in which the band both burn through excellent renditions of Mirage-era material and road test compositions which would later make it onto The Snow Goose. The sound quality on this is remarkably good - perhaps the best of any of the pre-Goose live offerings here - and it's interesting how the Snow Goose compositions differ to account for the lack of an orchestra in tow.

Naturally, there's also the Royal Albert Hall full performance of The Snow Goose with orchestra from 1975, which would form the basis of the second disc of A Live Record; this is enhanced by an encore performance of Lady Fantasy, skillfully adapted to account for the orchestra.

We also get a full concert set from the Hammersmith Odeon in 1976; previously only smatterings of this had been borrowed for the extended CD version of A Live Record or on some reissues of Moonmadness, but having the full show to hand in its original running order is excellent. There's a few technical issues audible - notably some faint buzzing on a few tracks which could be down to the original tapes having an issue or might be indicative of some of the band's equipment having a bit of a moment, but this is a mild blemish easily overlooked, especially since some care seems to have been taken here to tidy up the lives tapes as best as possible.

This live set is especially valuable since it provides a final showcase for the original lineup of Camel - some would say the classic lineup - prior to personnel shifts and their Rain Dances-era drift into a Canterbury-influenced direction. You get Latimer, Ward, Ferguson, and Bardens at the absolute top of their game, with a setlist drawn from some of the greatest albums not just in the Camel discography but in the progressive rock pantheon as a whole, with the setlist finally presented on disc more or less as it was conceived to be delivered onstage; when you think about it, that's absolutely fantastic.

The band return to the Odeon in 1977 for a barnstorming set which, along with some stray tracks from other venues rounding off the Live Record material. The 1977 Odeon show is the fullest document of the Rain Dances lineup live on this set, and it's absolutely superb. Between that and the tracks from Bristol and Leeds, the Rain Dances period ends up being the era of the band that's perhaps best-represented by live material here (with The Snow Goose period a close second).

Other live material in the collection includes a tightened-up reissue of the BBC session previously released as On the Road 1981 (including two tracks - Summer Lightning and Ice - not included on previous releases of the BBC session) and, lastly, a remaster of Pressure Points.

Most prog fans will have at least some of the material here - though the new mixes of Camel, Mirage, The Snow Goose, Moonmadness, and Nude are good enough to be worth dipping into (and the previous mixes are also presented so you can judge which you prefer) - but even Camel fanatics probably won't have all of it. If you've got significant gaps to fill in your Camel collection - or if the prospect of all those live goodies have you salivating - it's highly worthwhile, offering the lion's share of their output in one package.

 Camel on the Road 1981 by CAMEL album cover Live, 1997
3.51 | 88 ratings

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Camel on the Road 1981
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is another entry in Camel's On the Road series of archival live releases, hailing from a BBC concert recording from the Nude tour. On the Road (and the Gods of Light release) seems in part to have been a "beat the boots" endeavour on Camel's part - putting out decent-quality recordings in low-cost packaging to try and push back against bootleggers trying to flog the material in question, and since radio broadcasts are common fodder for bootleggers it makes sense that the band would make an effort to get on top of this.

After some decent runthroughs of older material, the bulk of this set consists of a run-through of Nude itself - or at least "edited highlights" thereof, taking in the entire first side of the studio album and the better bits of the second side. This is actually beneficial, trimming a bit of the fat from the concept and giving the back third a bit more focus.

Notably, Kit Watkins (formerly of Happy the Man) is here on keyboards, having been in that post for I Can See Your House From Here but not actually taking part in the studio sessions for Nude, so I suppose he was here on a touring basis to provide backup. In fact, a dual keyboardist lineup applies here - Jan Schelhaas is also helping out - giving this a fairly lush sound on that front, albeit with 1980s technology that is perhaps less warm than the synths and keyboards used in the band's prime 1970s years, to the slight detriment of the sound of the earlier material. (The stuff from Nude comes off better, since it was composed with such equipment in mind.)

This is also notable for capturing Andy Ward on drums in his last days in the band; by this point his struggles with alcohol had become severe and his mental health was approaching the crisis point. A few months later, he would attempt suicide, thankfully surviving but injuring his hand in the process, and Camel would attempt to go on hiatus, since everyone needed time off to recover from the shock and Ward in particular needed space to tackle his problems and begin the road to recovery.

Unfortunately, Decca would make loud noises about contractual obligations and demanded a new album in 1982, well before there was any prospect of Ward being able to return and prompting Andrew Latimer to knock together The Single Factor in order to keep the record company satisfied, and subsequently Ward would have a brief and disastrous stint in Marillion, during which his old issues flared up again; Ward would never return to the Camel fold.

Whatever was going on backstage with Ward, however, isn't really evident on his drumming here. He's a little lower in the mix than one might like, but otherwise he's on decent form, and it's particularly valuable to have a good-quality recording of him playing on the Nude material.

It's worth noting that the Air Born boxed set includes a significantly tied-up version of this BBC session, along with a couple of tracks - Summer Lightning and Ice from Breathless and I Can See Your House From Here respectively - which didn't emerge on the original release of On the Road 1981. Chances are that if you're a hardcore enough Camel fan to want to delve into live releases like this, you're probably keen enough to want to get that set - but if that's too rich for your tastes, I'd say On the Road 1981 is a pretty decent standalone release, particularly since it captures a more interesting and appealing time in the band's history than On the Road 1982 - confusingly similar in title (only one digit off!) but fatally different in composition, hailing as it does from the contractual obligation tour in support of The Single Factor.

 Camel 73 - 75 Gods of Light by CAMEL album cover Live, 2000
3.91 | 88 ratings

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Camel 73 - 75 Gods of Light
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is a "beat the bootlegs" release, rushed out when Camel became aware that a bootleg sampling much of this material was being honed for release. It consists of the God of Light track that Camel contributed to the Greasy Truckers - Live At Dingwalls Dance Hall compilation and a clutch of material from early BBC sessions.

As a compilation it is a little redundant now - if you're a big enough Camel fanatic to want to trawl this sort of archival matetial, you're probably better off saving your pennies for the Air Born collection, which includes all of this material (and more complete versions of the various BBC sessions represented), and if the Air Born box is too much Camel for you, then there's not much here that feels outright essential. Still, if you just want a quick overview of what they sounded like live in their early years, you could do a lot worse than this.

 Rain Dances by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.65 | 1146 ratings

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Rain Dances
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by Hector Enrique
Prog Reviewer

3 stars After their first four seminal albums, Camel underwent a change in their previously stable quartet line-up when Doug Ferguson stepped aside due to musical differences with his peers. Both the incorporation of Richard Sinclair (ex-Caravan) on bass and vocals, replacing Ferguson, and Mel Collins (ex-King Crimson) on sax, nourished Camel's sound with more jazz-oriented textures and nuances, conserving progressive details, although it is true that on a smaller scale. The result of this rearranged scenario is "Rain Dances", the band's fifth album.

From the spacey "First Light", where Latimer's crystalline guitars, the sea of effects from Peter Bardens' keyboards (especially the moog) and Collins' elegant saxophone support the track, relaxed melodies run through the album, such as the introspective "Tell Me", with Sinclair contributing his voice in watery mode to create a warmly cloudy atmosphere, or the beautiful fragility of "Elke", well wrapped by Latimer's flute, Brian Eno's keyboards (invited for the occasion), and Fionna Hibbert's harp (also invited), or the agile "Highways of the Sun", a piece of simple auditory digestion.

But Camel's also marked orientation towards jazz demanded instrumental pieces, such as the persistent and carefree "One of These Days I'll Get an Early Night" and "Skylines", where Latimer's prolonged guitar solos, Bardens' keyboards and Collins' saxophone merge and compete for the limelight, sustained by Andy Ward's remarkable fluency on percussion. Finally, "Rain Dances", an orchestrated, pared-down recapitulation reminiscent of the opening "First Light", brings the album to a circular close.

While "Rain Dances" is a more than acceptable album, it did not reach the heights of recognition of its predecessors, partly because of how difficult it was for Camel to sustain the high standard of their previous productions, and partly because of the shift in their musical approach towards more accessible paths.

3/3.5 stars

 Moonmadness by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.40 | 2609 ratings

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Moonmadness
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by Hector Enrique
Prog Reviewer

4 stars After the excellent "The Snow Goose", which allowed Camel to finally have a greater appreciation and general recognition, the British band maintains a superlative level with "Moonmadness", their fourth album. Without being a conceptual work like that of the famous goose, the album maintains a coherence and sense of unity despite the fact that not all the tracks have a common storyline, relying on sung passages to reinforce the instrumental developments.

With atmospheres generally vaporous and detached from the ground, from the lunar and marching "Aristillus", where Peter Bardens is the protagonist with his cosmic sounds courtesy of the synthesizers, "Moonmadness" opts for sculpting relaxed landscapes and transcendent connections, like the sensorial "Song Within a Song", the hypnotic "Spirit of the Water" and the aquatic voices of Bardens, or the restful "Air Born" and Latimer's flute sweetening its lysergic becoming.

And just as at the beginning of the album, "Moonmadness" concludes amidst spacey sonorities with the mysterious "Lunar Sea", drawn from Bardens' keyboards and Latimer's lively guitars in jazz mode, both musicians determined to move away from earthly limits, correctly backed by Doug Ferguson's persistent bass and Andy Ward's incisive drums.

Most valuable of the 2002 and 2009 remastered editions is the 1976 London concert, with very good sound, where the band demonstrates all their instrumental mastery and, on the other hand, that the vocal part was not their strongest point.

After "Moonmadness", disagreements over the musical direction the band should take led to Ferguson's departure, thus culminating Camel's most recognisable and glorious period.

4/4,5 stars

 The Snow Goose by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.30 | 2608 ratings

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The Snow Goose
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by Hector Enrique
Prog Reviewer

4 stars After the excellent "Mirage", Camel embarked on the creation of a conceptual work using "The Snow Goose", the literary text by American writer Paul Gallico set in the English town of Essex during the years of WWII, as a source of inspiration. Initially intended to accompany the music with a narrative taken from the book to give it greater support, Gallico's refusal to use it as a reference led the band to opt for a completely instrumental album. However, this setback did not prevent the duo Andy Latimer and Peter Bardens, the band's main composers, develop a clear timeline and a very successful portrayal of the personalities and different moods of the protagonists based on the circumstances they have to face. And therein lies a fundamental part of the charm of "The Snow Goose".

As the music unfolds, "Rhayader", the hermit and deformed bird keeper secluded in the town's coastal lighthouse, makes his appearance in the piece that bears his name, guided by Bartens' keyboards and minimoog and Latimer's delicate flute, also a protagonist with the bluesy guitar and sharp solo in the excellent "Rhayader Goes to Town". Rhayader is not alone, the luminous acoustic guitar arpeggios of "Fritha" introduce the young girl who, despite Rayhader's appearance, is not afraid to bring him an injured snow goose to heal. The beautiful relationship built by the characters is shattered by the departure of the recovered goose, and Bartens' sorrowful organ reflects the lighthouse keeper's desolation in the grief-stricken and plaintive "Rhayader Alone". Drama and tragedy climax when Rhayader dies helping to rescue Allied soldiers off the French coast of Dunkirk. "Preparation", "Dunkirk" and "Epitaph" admirably depict the sad situation with an eerie choir of angels of death, ghostly and disturbing keyboards from Bardens and Andy Ward's unleashed drumming. However, the story has a positive and hopeful twist, the goose returns to the British coast and Fritha recognises Rhayader in the bird, flying free on the beautiful and understatedly festive "La Princesse Perdue".

Given the ambition of the project, the band invited the London Symphony Orchestra, which, while not particularly prominent, contributes to the dramatic atmospheres.

From the remastered 2002 edition, the extended live version of the song "The Snow Goose" is worth mentioning; and from the 2009 edition, the interesting live recording for BBC Radio of part of the album.

"The Snow Goose" is not only an excellent album and an obligatory reference of the genre, but it also consolidates Camel as one of its most representative exponents.

4/4.5 stars

 Mirage by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.41 | 3061 ratings

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Mirage
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by Hector Enrique
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Despite the meagre commercial results of their eponymous debut album, Camel's proposal already showed more than interesting musical structures and an enormous potential to be exploited. "Mirage", their second album, is the reflection of a consolidated band that is much more focused on the construction of instrumental atmospheres in which the music transmits sensations by itself, without the need to verbalise too much and relying on the rock/jazz fusion as a fundamental pillar.

It is in this context where elements are incorporated that envelop and nourish the pieces, such as the spatial beginning of "Freefall", the delicate flutes of Andy Latimer in the restful "Supertwister", or the tireless drums of Andy Ward in the jazzy and agitated "Earthrise". But above all, in the two pieces that stand out clearly, the Tolkenian suite "Nimrodel / The Procession / The White Rider" and its psychedelic textures and medieval rolls, and the extensive "Lady Fantasy", full of contrasting moods, between reflective and euphoric, where Latimer's guitars unfold without complexes and with enviable ease, in symbiosis with Peter Bardens' arsenal of keyboards, and which, after the first half of the song, leads to one of the memorable moments of the album and surely one of the most outstanding in the discography of the British band. A gem.

The live pieces from the concert at the Marquee Club in London in 1974 added to the 2002 remastered edition of the album are not very different from the originals, except for a small extension in "Arubaluba", so their contribution in general is marginal.

Beyond the curious and anecdotal skirmishes over the use of the slightly retouched logo of the famous cigarette brand on its cover, which forced the band to change it for the North American market, "Mirage" is a serious album that exudes maturity and flashes of brilliance, and by which Camel climbed several rungs on the ladder to the top of progressive rock in its most symphonic vein.

Excellent

4/4.5 stars

 Camel by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.95 | 1519 ratings

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Camel
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by Hector Enrique
Prog Reviewer

4 stars At the height of the progressive rock effervescence, Camel released their first album of the same name in 1973, and thus began their musical adventure as one of the bands that, although they did not reach the levels of popularity of Yes, Genesis or similar legends, managed with their particular style, which combines elements of blues, jazz and rock, to make a place for themselves and be considered a cult band and a reference of the genre.

The musical proposal of "Camel", in spite of having a somewhat raw and still to be polished sound, surprises with an uncommon solidity for a debut album, being guided by the intensity of Andy Latimer's electric guitars and the constant counterpoint with Peter Bardens' dynamic keyboards, as in the opening "Slow Yourself Down", or the lively "Separation", as well as by the construction of powerful instrumental walls in complicity with Doug Ferguson's bass and Andy Ward's jazzy drums, in the intricate and sublime "Arubaluba".

On the other hand, Camel also show their skills with the more laid-back tracks, such as the Pinkfloydian "Mystic Queen", with a development and chorus that could well be part of the marathon "Echoes", or the crystalline opening arpeggios of Latimer's acoustic guitar on the anxious "Never Let Go", one of the album's best.

The remastered 2002 edition includes an interesting extended live version of "Homage to the God of Light", a track from Bardens' solo album "The Answer".

At the time "Camel" was not very well received and went unnoticed, and the band was even forced to change record labels, but the passing of time has positioned it in a place more in keeping with its value.

Very good

3.5/4 stars

Thanks to Ivan_Melgar_M for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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